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Organization: Red Wing, MN:  Build Bridges, Not Walls
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
Posted: Jan. 25 2010,20:33 If you wrote this report, you will find a button here that you may click
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Postal address of organization/institution

1620 Woodcrest Court, Red Wing, MN  55066

E-mail address of organization/institution

(Paul H. Christenson) bestefar8@msn.com

Website address of organization/institution

Telephone of organization/institution


PRIORITIES: All of the organization's domains of culture of peace activity


TOP PRIORITY: The organization's most important culture of peace activity


PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, municipality of Drammen, Norway, the United Nations Association of Norway, Buskerud University College and the Centre of Conflict Management and Peace-making, Build Bridges, Not Walls Committee through the Sister Cities organization in Red Wing, MN and a working agreement with the schools in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina.

ACTIONS: What activities have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the ten years of the Decade? If you already made a report in 2005, your information from 2005 will be included in the 2010 report.

1.  We're a low key / high energy group, formed by those of us who felt the need for a "Peace" presence in Red Wing.  So, it's a spin from the Sister Cities organization, in an ad hoc way, that is, a relationship through our Sister Cities organization on a "project by project" basis, - which, in this case, is the on-going program of "Build Bridges, Not Walls"  (Drammen, Norway, our Sister City could not take on any more relationships because their ledger was full, but agreed that we would work together "Project by Project".
  2.  The goals of course are to be educated through our Conferences regarding the qualifications and methods of work attached to human rights peaceful conflict management and multi-cultural understanding, using art and artistic expressions as tool and method as a basic principle throughout the project.  The major focus is to create a community of peace, characterized by positive intercourse and understanding among individuals and different groups, independent of ethnic origin.
  3.  Young people have applied for participation; numbers applying have been commensurate with the number we have been able to accommodate to travel (usually around 6-8 young people in H.S. and in college), plus mentors/chaperones
  4.  We have several sessions for preparing for our experience, an opportunity to commit themselves to serving as expeditors of the program to service clubs, congregation's education hours at Sunday morning coffee hours, high school schedules and Peace groups within our metropolitan-area.
  5.  The structure of our Conferences, (and there have now been three: Drammen, Norway, in 2005, ( Red Wing in 2007 (when we were in complete charge; 40 high school students were present from around the world) and most recently in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina in 2009, - all prepared by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the United Nations Association of Norway, - centered in Drammen and in Oslo, (80 high school students present).
6.  My wife, Lois and I are the adult persons in charge with help, particularly when we    staged the Peace Conference in Red Wing in 2007, from our high school superintendent and principal and a wonderful committee of 12 persons.  (We have a DVD covering that Conference available.)
   In a nutshell the description and nature of the project / program is as follows in summary:  the project, “Build Bridges, Not Walls” wants to form a basis for better understanding of human rights, peaceful conflict management and multi-cultural understanding:
  Human rights -  regulate the relations between the citizen and the national state, and define the obligations of the government to its citizens.  Knowledge of human rights forms a better understanding of the measures needed to integrate and present marginalization of groups of people, such as aborigines, women, refugees, immigrants, youngsters in difficult situations, and people living in institutions.
  Multi-Cultural Understanding – gives knowledge about other cultures, and forms a basis for understanding people from their own point of view.  Education in multi-cultural understanding may lead people to engage themselves beyond their own references of life, their attitudes and reactions, and to develop a greater amount of understanding and respect towards other people.  Therefore it is important to develop qualifications in dealing with multi-cultural situations.  Knowledge of human rights and multi-cultural understanding may increase self-confidence among different groups, and thereby create greater openness towards differences.
  Peaceful Conflict Management- gives knowledge about how conflicts escalate, as well as different methods of solving them.  Human beings develop their personality in contact and togetherness with other people.   In such processes conflict constitutes a natural part.  Conflicts may lead to violence, but may also lead to positive changes and developments of attitudes.  The question is, whether conflicts are managed or not, in order to release energy, which in other contexts, might be very useful.  It is perhaps more practical to “manage” conflict rather than to think that we can “solve” them all.

This photo before the famous Stari Most Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina last April, 2009 will give a little idea of our presence in another country, studying "Build Bridges, Not Walls".

PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the second half of the Decade?

Wherever our message of “Build Bridges, Not Walls” is shared through the 18 minute DVD we have created (which includes slide/movie slideshow, captions and native music and the discussion of the salient issues presented), there will be good opportunity to refocus on our societal problems and begin to move in a reconciliatory way.

OBSTACLES: Has your organization faced any obstacles to implementing the culture of peace and nonviolence? If so, what were they?

We have found a good spirit of openness within our community.  They have received us and our message well.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization in the short, medium and long term to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence?

In addition to the presentation of our program in as many venues as we can reach we are now looking forward to our next Conference which is, at least, tauted to be located in Germany.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT: How do you think the culture of peace and nonviolence could be strengthened and supported at the world level??

By encouraging grass roots discussions which might find focus in planning strategic programing, encouraging local participation in some exciting ventures.
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Organization: Red Wing, MN:  Build Bridges, Not Walls

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